Experts warn of bears on Kananaskis ski trails

Even though there's still snow around hiking and skiing trails, the warmer weather has brought out the bears in Kananaskis Country.

Warmer weather bringing out bears and offspring, bear spray strongly recommended

Experts say warmer weather has brought bears out a little sooner this year, including on skiing trails in Kananaskis Country. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

Even though there's still snow around hiking and skiing trails, the warmer weather has brought out the bears in Kananaskis Country.

Alberta Parks is warning anyone who is going into the woods to bring bear spray, even if you are skiing.

Jay Honeyman is an Alberta Parks wildlife biologist who specializes in human-bear conflict.

Jay Honeyman is an Alberta Parks wildlife biologist who specializes in human-bear conflict. (CBC)

"It's not the kind of thing you expect to see on a ski trail," Honeyman tells CBC News.

"We've had both black and grizzly bears reported at the Canmore Nordic Centre while people are cross-country skiing."

Outdoor enthusiast Carla McIvor says avoiding a confrontation isn't that difficult.

Carla McIvor says simple steps can help reduce confrontations with bears and their cubs. (CBC)

"Just being aware and knowing what to do if you encounter a bear, making sure not to leave garbage out. If you see a mom and a little bear, turn around, don't go close, give them lots of space," McIvor said.

"It's the bear's home, let them have their home."

Honeyman says bear spray can help in an encounter.

"We really try to promote the use of bear spray ... the time is now. We're into bear season right now," he said.

He says the spray also works on other animals like cougars, coyotes and elk and warmer weather might also mean that animals may have cubs earlier than normal too.

That's something else to watch for, Honeyman adds.

With files from Mario De Ciccio and Kate Adach

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